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School District Says Lawyer Took it for $300K

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The San Francisco Unified School District claims a former partner at Morrison & Foerster scammed it for nearly $300,000, using a shell company called "Puzzle Pieces" to bill it improperly for the care and treatment of his autistic son.

The school district says Jonathan Dickstein and his wife, Barclay Lynn, claimed that Puzzle Pieces was a legitimate business and a licensed third-party care provider, while telling their bookkeeper not to let the school district or others know that they owned the business and were the true recipients of the education money.

The school district says the two used the sham business from 2006 to 2008 to submit inflated invoices with inappropriate expenses for in-home care under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Both the school district and its insurer, Anthem Blue Cross, were billed, according to the complaint.

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office said in August 2010 that spreadsheets seized from Dickstein and Lynn's house show that the "Puzzle Pieces scheme was budgeted as a family profit center and enabled Dickstein and Lynn to pocket an additional $100,000 a year - after 'expenses' - on top of Dickstein's law partner's salary."

Dickstein, a Harvard Law School graduate and specialist in intellectual property, and his wife are free on $100,000 bail each after their August 2010 arrests.

Dickstein faces 31 felony counts, including grand theft, forgery, insurance fraud and conspiracy.

The school district says the couple's behavior was malicious, oppressive and fraudulent; it seeks the $297,273 it shelled out, plus punitive damages for fraud, intentional misrepresentation, negligence, unfair competition, unjust enrichment and conversion. It is represented by Kevin Gilbert with Meyers, Nave, Riback of Oakland.

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